Lake Manager’s Report – September 2019
Randy Stowe, firstname.lastname@example.org
1. In March of 2019, the MPOA began announcing that a lake drawdown would be conducted in October of 2019. This will be the first Wonder Lake drawdown since 2007, and is being done in order to allow some needed concrete patching to be done to the Wonder Lake Dam spillway, as well as to complete some mechanical dredging in an area of West Bay that could not be accessed by the hydraulic dredge. The MPOA intentionally provided early notice of the drawdown to allow lakefront landowners time to secure the regulatory permits for any shoreline projects that they might want to implement during the drawdown, and so that lakefront landowners could plan ahead for dealing with the removal of their in-lake equipment this fall. Wonder Lake will remain at its normal elevation into mid-September.
2. Depending on rainfall and predicted weather patterns in mid-to-late September, the lake will slowly be lowered to the crest of the dam spillway so the actual drawdown can begin as planned by October 1st, 2019. Starting October 1st, the actual lake drawdown will begin, with lake levels beginning to drop more quickly. It is estimated that the lake level will be lowered by at least two feet below the dam spillway crest elevation, but the actual extent of the drawdown needed will not be determined until the upper portion of the upstream dam spillway face is exposed, and the extent of concrete patching required can be visually observed.
3. It is hoped that all of the spillway repairs and dredging work can be completed by the end of October 2019, so that the lake can begin re-filling before winter. Obviously, the length of time for the lake to refill will be subject to how much rainfall occurs this fall, but based on the last drawdown, the lake should be back to normal pool for winter sports activities. Given this timeframe, lakefront landowners should be planning accordingly for removing their in-lake equipment for the winter.
4. The Nippersink Watershed Association has begun the Merchant Creek restoration project, which has received funding from the Illinois EPA, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, and a generous donation from the developers of the Thatcher Meadows development. The intent of the project is to restore the stream corridor by removing invasive trees and shrubs, restoring sunlight to the eroding streambanks, and allowing desirable native vegetation to re-establish. Rip-rap is also being installed to reduce streambank erosion, and to reduce sediment delivery to Wonder Lake.
5. To take advantage of the beautiful fall weather, there will be two (2) workdays in September to continue to clear invasive brush and weeds from portions of the Merchant Creek stream corridor. The first will be on Saturday, September 14th, from 8 am to 11 am. The regularly scheduled “3rd Saturday” Nippersink Watershed Association Merchant Creek workday will be on Saturday, September 21st. Please note the meeting location being used for these workdays. Park Drive is the second side street off Wooded Shores Drive coming west from East Wonder Lake Road. As always, volunteers are welcome, and there are tasks available for all levels of effort.
6. As always, with autumn approaching, Wonder Lake landowners with lakefront or streamfront properties are strongly encouraged to NOT rake their leaves into the water, as this can create a significant nutrient load, fueling future algae blooms. Please consider composting raked leaves or utilizing available landscape waste disposal services.